My last breakup lasted three months. We both knew it had to end, but our intense attraction made it nearly impossible to cut ties completely. Each time we got together, I told myself it would be the last time… except it never was. This cycle repeated until I hit my breaking point. The emotional high I felt in the moment with him didn’t make up for the sadness I experienced days later.
Letting go of someone you love can be the scariest and most difficult thing you ever do, even if you know it’s the right move to make. Nothing is better than being in love, so it’s only natural that when you are lucky enough to find love, you do everything in your power to hold on to it.
Recovering from a breakup or divorce can be challenging, but it’s necessary to move forward. Here are 5 ways to heal and find happiness:
1. Give yourself permission to grieve.
While your impulse may be to ignore the pain, suppressing it will only prolong the healing process. Grief is healthy. Yes, suffering is uncomfortable, but it’s important to let yourself feel. The act of crying is scientifically proven to lower stress and elevate your mood.
2. Accept that it’s over.
This may seem obvious, but sadly, many of us cling to a false hope that the other person will come back to us, and things will magically sort themselves out. However, dwelling on something you have no control over will only add to your misery. Sure, you may get back together one day down the line, but it’s best to assume you won’t, and prepare to move on.“Acceptance grounds you in what is true, which is where you have to start for any true effectiveness, happiness, or healing,” says Rick Hanson, Ph.D. “Acceptance is the foundation of wisdom and inner peace.”
3. Distance yourself and get rid of relationship reminders.
It’s helpful to think of this time as a cleanse. Many people have a hard time letting go completely and stay in touch, regardless of how much it hurts. Cutting off contact, at least temporarily, is essential for your mental well-being. Also, get rid of the tangible reminders—pictures, clothes, and songs—that can trigger nostalgia.“Even if the split is amicable, it’s important you both go your own way and stop leaning on each other because that keeps you emotionally and energetically tied,” says life coach Christine Hassler, relationship expert and frequent contributor to Mastin Kipp’s Daily Love. “You prolong your healing process and may be preventing learning the lessons you need to learn by continuing to have contact.”
4. Don’t relive all the happy memories.
Remember the reasons why you broke up. Glorifying the past will do nothing but hurt you. It’s hard to think logically when you get swept up in such intense emotions, so when you catch yourself reminiscing about your ex, shift your focus elsewhere. Keep busy and find ways to distract yourself.“Join a running group, find an intramural team, play basketball at a nearby park,” eHarmony experts advise.
“Even taking your dog for more walks is good for both the body and soul. A little fresh air can go a long way when your brain is taxed and your heart is weary.”
Any time I’m feeling vulnerable or second-guessing my decision, I write down a list of reasons why we broke up and reread it.
5. Remain optimistic and have faith you will find love again.
When you let go of someone who was bad for you, you make room in your life for new people and new possibilities. Starting over can be scary—you may fear being vulnerable or getting hurt again—but it is only when you truly let go that a new love can come in. Prepare yourself by staying positive and focusing on what you really want, and you will ultimately find a healthier, deeper love.
This article originally appeared on www.rewireme.com.